Three Bass Bag Limit Announced For Bass Anglers

Whitby Sea Anglers » News » Three Bass Bag Limit Announced For Bass Anglers

Three Bass Bag Limit Announced For Bass Anglers

Council adopts measures to help sea bass to recover

(26/03/2015) The Council has adopted measures to help sea bass recover. For recreational fishing, which accounts for 25% of sea bass mortality, the decision will mean the introduction of a limit of three fish per day per angler. Learn more about sea bass with our infographic (available in English and in French).

Sea bass is a very valuable fish, on which many fishermen, especially small fishing enterprises, depend. With over 1.3m recreational anglers in France and another 800 000 in the UK, many thousands of jobs also depend on recreational fishing.

Recent scientific analyses have reinforced previous concerns about the state of the stock and advised urgently to reduce fishing by 80%. We are witnessing a rapid decline of sea bass that risks leading to a collapse if no action is taken.

The daily limit on recreational catches complements the emergency measures which the Commission adopted earlier this year, and which targeted pelagic fisheries.

The Commission has previously taken such emergency measures to protect vulnerable stocks, most recently with anchovy in the Bay of Biscay.

Bass Bag Limit Infographic

bass bag limits announced

A 3 Bass Bag Limit Announced For Bass Anglers

By | 2018-03-23T08:48:34+00:00 March 27th, 2015|News|15 Comments

About the Author:

Site Administrator Glenn Kilpatrick has a passion for all types of sea angling. Past winner of the Whitby Sea Anglers fishing club on 2 occasions, Glenn now mainly focuses on summer fishing with bass and pollack being his favoured target fish. Glenn now also prefers Kayak Fishing over any other type of Sea Fishing.


  1. Steve Hill March 30, 2015 at 10:04 am - Reply

    As I understand commercial fishermen are not under any restrictions, and are still able to catch and land 5 ton of bass per week per boat.
    I would like to see the conservation extended to the commercial fleet.

  2. frank April 7, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Where bag limits are applied to sea angling as e.g in Southern Ireland for bass and in the United States for striped bass, they are accompanied by stringent restrictions on commercial fishing. Other than a temporary ( 1 year ) restriction on pelagic bass fishing (mostly French vessels) which has only resulted in a 14% reduction in French landings to date this year ( not the 25/30 % that was anticipated) – no other restrictions have been placed on commercial bass fishing as things stand though other measures are anticipated.

    The big issue,whether bass angling is likely to improve as a result of the three bag limit remains dubious . This leaves an impression of indecent haste about the UK Government’s approval of the three bass limit and a suspicion that this won’t be the last time angler bass catches are ratcheted back by the EU in the near future.

    However, some anglers appear to regard the three bass limit as a considerable acheivement in spite of the absence of any impact on the UK commercial fisheries sector ( 20% increase in bass landings in 2014) to date because they view overfishing by anglers/unlicensed fishermen as a serious threat to the stock .

    Angler bag limits in any form, should not have been approved unaccompanied by substantial reductions in commercial bass landings affecting all forms of commercial bass fishing activity, not just anglers and pelagic fishermen. The approval of this measure by the UK government, at virtually no cost to UK commercial fishermen, will only further encourage commercials to play hardball with angling organizations during future negotiations.

  3. good and economic tarotista April 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    My partner andd I absolutely love your blog andd find almost
    alll of your post’s to bbe just what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guhest writers to write content in your
    case? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating oon a lott of the subjuects
    you write regarding here. Again, awesome website!

  4. Paul Harris April 27, 2015 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Hi concerned anglers,What about the charter fleet that operate from Plymouth. Many of them have a commercial licence to land fish. The anglers are taken out as a charter and then fish for bass. The catch is sold on the market.The anglers have a free trip.The skipper has the money for the catch. This practice needs to end.

  5. frank April 29, 2015 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Hi Glen

    In Southern Ireland anglers are restricted to 2 bass a day . Commercial bass fishing is prohibited . I can see why a bag limit makes sense.

    In the United States a bag limiit is applied to angling for striped bass .Almost 90 % of the striped bass harvest is allocated to anglers. I can see why a bag limit makes sense.

    In EU Member States bar Southern Ireland, commercial bass landings have been allowed to increase unchecked to a point where 75% of bass landings are now reported to be made by commercial fishermen and only 25% are made by anglers .

    As long as the commercial share of the landings remains so high as a proportion of the whole, I won’t be convinced a 3 bass bag limit is justified for anglers. Furthermore I won’t be convinced that a bass bag limit is justified for angling in any form until the nature of the restrictions to be applied to commercial bass fishing have been disclosed .

    I fear the opportunity of improving bass fishing in England is slipping away from our grasp.

    Many thanks


  6. frank May 1, 2015 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    In summary

    Looking at many of the countries where bag limiits are applied to sea angling around the world e.g.the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Irealand, they are usually applied within the context of fisheries schemes capping the landings of all the other fisheries stakeholders so that the benefits of bag liimits for angling are guaranteed.

    In my view , the controls placed on commercial bass fishing iin the UK and in Europe are not sufficiently rigorous to justify an angler bag limit for bass.

    On the facts available, I am surprised the UK government agreed to a bag liimit for bass.

    Many thanks


  7. keith gosling May 6, 2015 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Too bloody true matey

  8. frank May 8, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    Hopefully, with the General Election out of the way sea anglers will soon find out what they are getting back in return for the concession of a 3 bass limit in terms of restrictions on commercial bass fishing and will then be able to judge whether the bag limit is likely to improve their bass fishing or make no difference.

    Catch & release policy has a downside. It creates the impression that anglers’ rights to keep fish to eat are virtually worthless and that giving them away cheaply doesn’t matter. Indeed the view is sometimes put across that anglers who eat fish or, is it just bass, are bad conservationists ( though an angler who catches a fish over and over again and puts it back is a good one) to make them feel ashamed of their actions. The truth is that anglers who eat bass can be good coonservationists too, and that increasing the potential for bass to breed is an argument that should unite both specimen hunters and sea anglers who like to eat some of the fish they catch.

    If sea anglers continue to give away their rights to keep bass too cheaply will the health of bass stock be improved ? On this imortant point, I invite you to reflect over an extract of a blog which appeared on the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society’s website some time ago.

    It referred to the results of extensive bass tagging research carried out by CEFAS involving several thousand bass : ” Two out of three bass tagged and released by anglers that were recaptured were caught commercially-that tells us everything. Whether we like it or not and I guess we mostly don’t, the bass we release are positively enhancing the earnings of commercials far more so than assisting the sustainabilty of the resource or improving the quality of future bass angling. ”

    Representative organizations are good at restricting the public right to catch a fish to eat at home, not so good at at restricting the actions of those who fish for profit. The prospect of watching diners in a restaurant eating the bass I put back doesn’t appeal to me. The ball as far as my future membership is concerned is in their court, as a fish eating sea angler and conservationist, I have yet to be convinced that they intend to protect my rights to eat bass or other sea fish.


  9. frank May 11, 2015 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    A recent article published by a French Green organization with a sea fisheries slant, is addressed specifically to sportsfishermen. At face value, this draws a distinction between French sportsfishermen and other categories of French sea anglers.

    All the best


  10. frank May 14, 2015 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    If you ever get this far , this email explains the source of my frustration.

    I have read the AT’s explanation of how the bag limit agreement was reached. Neverthless it does not appear that the details set out on page 38 (3) of the Bass Management Plan published in 2004 were in place at the time the bass bag limit agreement was reached, which explains why anglers who appreciate the value of their retention rights, are still wondering what the anticipated restrictions on commercial fishing will be.

    Hopefully more attention will be paid to the details of page 38 (3) of the BMP when the current limit of 3 bass is reduce otherwise bass fishing may never improve in England.

    The Bass Management Plan is available on line at by clicking on conservation and management.

    Some anglers have issues with bag limits but I have always considered that a bag limit would probably improve my chances of catching a bass to take home providing rigorous restrictions were also placed on commercial fishing. This view seems to be supported by the striped bass scheme in the United States.


  11. frank June 3, 2015 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I’m not surprised it looks like ending badly. now report the EU measures are being watered down.
    Had the 3 bass bag limit been agreed within the context of P38(3) of the Bass Management Plan it would not have been so easy to water things down after the ink had dried.

    Some bass fishermen have been calling for angler bag limits to be iintroduced for bass for a long time. Regrettably, many anglers did not seem to consider that an angler bag limit ( in any form)benefited commercial fishermen and agreed to a restriction of the public right to fish without apparently worryng too much about what they were getting in return. Little wonder that the package of conservation measures from the commercial bass fisheries sector now appears to be of limited conservation value.

  12. frank July 7, 2015 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    Fortunately, the EU Commission for Fisheries threw in a sweetner at the end of the recent package of EU bass measures for 2015-an increase in the MRCS for bass in the Northern zone of the European bass fishery to 42cm in September – to save a Government whose politicians claim to have championed the recreational bass fishery in Europe and have done nothing to further this view in England to date, from further embarrassment.

    In summary recent changes for 2015 seem to be as follows: the ban on pelagic trawling introduced earlier in the year has expired; the angler bag limiit of 3 bass a day still stands: bass catches by commercial fishing vessels have been restricted to between 1300 and 3000 Kg a month; the bass legislation applying in Southern Ireland has been extended to the vessels of other EU Member States and the MRCS for bass is to be increased to 42 cm in September in the Northern zone of the European bass fishery ( the sea areas North of the 48 the parallel running due West from the tip of Brittany).

    3 bass a day in exchange for between 1300 and 3000 Kg of bass a month, is that a fair exchange?

    Defra and the Government have consistently emphasised that they would adopt a ” balanced approach” between anglers and fishermen for bass, ignoring the fact that the management criteria of all other sea fish stocks tends to favour commercial exploitation.

    A letter dated the 23 rd of June from Defra states: ” The impetus to agree a balanced approach at both EU and National level has been maintained with the aim of enabling the stock to recover and become sustainable”

    If I could catch 3 bass a day from the shore I would agree with them, but on current form I’ll be lucky to catch 3 bass a year!

    All the best,


  13. frank July 7, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    In determining whether an angler bag limit of three bass a day is a fair exchange for commercial fishing vessel catch limits of between 1300 and 3000kg of bass a month according to the fishing gear used, anglers should bear in mind that research commissioned by Blue Marine Foundation in Sussex relating to 2012: “Defining the Economic and Environmental Values of Sea Bass by MRAG consultants” estimated that anglers kept between 10.4 and 19.9 tonnes of the bass caught in Sussex in 2012. Fishermen are estimated to have landed 247.58 tonnes in the same year.



  14. frank July 9, 2015 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    My apologies, I am mistaken, it seems the lowest mionthly catch limit for netsmen has been set at 1000 kg a month by the EU. Commercial bass catch limits therefore range from 1000 to 3000 kg a month depending on method .

    That still doesn’t make it feel like any less of a mugging, by which I mean an extension of a trend to restrict the public right to fish in favour of those who fish for profit under cover of conservation for meagre reward .


  15. frank September 1, 2015 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Hi Glen,

    I quote from the “Now what?” heading at

    ” Can we rely on the accuracy of the landings data and therefore the calculations based upon them? Unfortunately the answer is no. With regard to Sea Bass, the book ” Advances in Fisheries Science states that ” the official statistics may record as little as 20% of the actual landings”

    This information seems to raise doubts about the value of the catch limits for commercial bas fishing methods fixed by the EU Commission and about the extent of the benefits angling obtains from the angler bag limit agreement.

Leave A Comment